Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Finally! Real Downloadable Content

Bungie just announced that next Monday will be the day they release four new maps for Halo 2 Multiplayer. Two will be free and two will cost money. After a few months, the for-pay maps will become free as well. I love this model and plan to buy them, if for nothing else but to support Bungie. I'm hoping this will go over so well that more studios will consider a TV model for distribution. It will keep games alive, and fresh longer, rather than the easily disposable content we create now.

For info... Bungie.net


At 6:55 PM, Blogger Clubberjack said...

It will keep engines alive longer too, lessening the "reinventing the camera" problem. I think that I'll probably buy the maps too, in support of the business model.

It's interesting to note that the new Xbox may not have a hard-drive, which would make this sort of thing harder. On the other hand, they do keep saying that they want to establish these "micro-economies." Hmmm... I guess we'll see.

At 8:36 PM, Blogger Foopy said...

First of all, I'd like to point out that a lot of games are kept fresh and alive, not only by game companies themselves but by fan communities and third-party developers as well.

Epic Megagames, for instance, has a great habit of releasing free map packs for their Unreal Tournament games after they hit the shelves.

And aren't low-priced expansion packs a variety of "episodic content" too?

And then there's the fan-made maps and mods... It's thanks to all of these things that games like Half-Life stayed alive for so many years after their original release.

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I'm not going to be really impressed with this whole "episodic content" thing until I see a company release a game that costs $20 on the shelves, features no more than half or one-third the content of a standard AAA title, and then releases $10 episodes on a regular schedule from there on out.

These Halo 2 maps could be interpreted as a step towards episodic content, but I think they could also be interpreted as charging people for what has previously been offered free of charge by other companies.


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